Our way to 4000 islands (south of Laos) started with a crazy disco bus: extremely loud music with a bass that many clubs would envy. Only some phone calls made the young drivers stop the music for short periods. Luckily, despite their fast and dangerous driving, we arrived to what we thought was the home of some of the drivers.
We had already spent pretty longer than expected in Luang Prabang, so it was time to move again. Even if our initial idea was to cross through the mountains to the north of Thailand, the peacefulness of Laos and the good company of Ainhoa and Itziar made us change the plan and head south through Laos. Our final destination was 4000 islands, said to be a reduct of calm and chilly Backpackers atmosphere in the middle of the Mekong. However, in order to break the long bus journey to the southernmost corner of the country, we decided to make a stop in between. The chosen place was Thakhèk, famous for having some of the biggest caves with running rivers inside of the world, and also for a Motorbike loop around the area and its karst scenery!
Here the two Basque girls posting, Itziar and Ainhoa, glad to take part in such a blog!
Let’s start talking about when we met in that infernal 28 hour bustrip, supposedly the best way to get from Sapa to Luang Prabang (Laos). To sum up, we will say there was a lot of nonsense stops in the middle of the jungle, the monzoon above us, rockfalls, lots of biscuits, endless curves, rice fields, incredible views, a sudden change of bus in the middle of nowhere, thermometer shots in the border, deliveries on every little village we passed through, disgusting meals (suspiciously doggy) and an annoying Argentinian couple who did nothing but complain about EVERYTHING they could. But luckily for us, the Catalan trio made the trip surprisingly easy to handle. After all, we dare to say that 28 hours in a bus is not such a big deal anymore, and now we know that a journey to Barcelona is just around the corner.
After a long trip from Cat Ba, we reached Sapa at 7 am after a night of sleeping bus. Despite it was early, around 20 women coming from the tribes around Sapa were waiting for the people getting out of the bus, almost all westerns. They were trying to invite us to homestays and excursions in the countryside. Some of those women even accompanied us to the hostel. After the following resting at the hostel, we decided to rent motorbikes and start another motorcycle day. Following the plan, that should be only the first day of the 3 or 4 we planned to stay there, but in the end 2 days were enough.
As said in the last post, after asking many agencies in Hanoi for a tour in Halong Bay, we decided to follow the advice of another blog in the Internet and head to Cat Ba Island by our own, with a bus-boat-bus combination. And this turned out to be a great decision! :D